Lt. General Atkins Prepares to Hand Off Command

Air Force Lieutenant General Dana Atkins, the senior military officer responsible for all military activities in Alaska, is retiring soon. Atkins has been in charge of the Alaska Command for three years.

In Kodiak this week, he said his replacement will be Major General Steve Hoog.

Atkins says there are four areas the new commander will need to focus on: the F-22’s, Russian long-range aviation, the military evolution of the Arctic and training exercises. He says Alaska is poised to become the premier location for military exercises as training facilities in the Lower 48 have increasingly more restrictions placed on them. Atkins says there are currently 10 sites in Alaska considered potential training grounds. He says the state’s size is a major part of its appeal

While the military would definitely benefit from establishing training grounds in Alaska’s vast wilderness, Atkins says the state would as well.

Hoog will take command on Nov. 7. That will give him a few months to settle in before environmental impact studies on the proposed training sites are released in March 2012.

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